History of Purple Heart Truck

 

The Purple Heart Truck was a dream of Marine Staff Sergeant Herb Delbridge.  He served in the military for over 10 years with over 8 of those years in the United States Marine Corps.  He served with pride in the Vietnam War and was a recipient of the Purple Heart Medal while there.

 

The idea of having a mobile expression of his time spent in the war came to fruition early in 2013 when he purchased the 1983 pumper fire truck and started his year-long plan to have scenes painted on the truck’s body depicting the realities of war.  Each and every scene shown on the truck is personal to Herb.  Most were painted from actual photographs chosen by him.  The artwork was done by Ken Hayden of Mechanicsville, VA.  The two worked closely together to insure every exacting detail was perfect.  All U.S. military branches are represented on the truck including each branch’s flag.

 

His primary motivation for the truck is to give the Vietnam Veterans the thanks for their service and sacrifices.  Those veterans never received the welcome home praises that they so richly deserve.  He invites Vietnam Veterans to ride atop the truck to receive the gratitude of their community as well as all veterans of any era to join him to show their pride in their service.

 

From 2014 through 2019 the Purple Heart truck has traveled the roads of central Virginia bringing recognition and peace to many, especially to those who fought in one of our country's most unpopular wars. Whenever the call was put out, Herb responded by presenting his mobile war memorial at parades, community festivals, and patriotic events and ceremonies.

 

In 2020 the mobile war memorial was garaged due to COVID, and in 2021 Herb suffered a life changing health event that took away his ability to drive. In addition, his loving wife Linda, had some serious health issues as well some time later brought on by the stress in caring for Herb and his recovery.

 

A group of Marines and Army veterans, Purple Heart recipients, and Fire-fighters came together in January of 2022 to create an informal volunteer organization to put the Purple Heart Truck back on the road and continue Herb's mission. The organizational founders saw a need to carry on such an important mission and support a brother in need for his dedication and contributions to veterans of every age and conflict and support our brothers and sisters on active duty serving this Great Nation.